The Wooding Report (1969)

Bermuda Civil Disorders 1968

Report of Commission

Statement by the Government of Bermuda

1. In authorising publication of the Report of the Wooding Commission, the government wishes to acknowledge its appreciation of the manner in which the Chairman and members of the Commission have discharged their duties; and to commend the Report for study by all who value the future well-being and happiness of all sections of the community. In the opinion of the Government, the Report represents a most useful sociological study of many aspects of life in Bermuda.

2. The Government is happy to note that so many of the Commission’s observations and recommendations accord with the Government’s own views and policies. The Government especially welcomes the Commission’s conclusion that racial division, once deep and traditional, has been arrested, and warmly endorses the view of the Commission that in true integration and confidence among the races lies the key to the future in Bermuda (paragraphs 234 and 236 of the Report).

3. In this connection the Government whole heartedly endorses the Commission’s opinion that, in the vital field of race relations, “what is now needed, and urgently needed, is a new and true understanding, a deep conviction of the essentiality of building a single community providing common opportunities for all and an unyielding commitment to promoting the democratic values of equality and fraternity in a society that is free in all respects”.  This is the Government’s policy and, it is believed, the policy of all who have faith in the future of our island community.

4. To this end the Government intends to take early steps t o consolidate and strengthen existing legislation in the field of race relations so as to provide a charter for the promotion of integration in Bermuda and to make incitement to racial hatred a criminal offence.

5. The Government wishes to make it absolutely clear, both inside and outside Bermuda, that it will not tolerate attempts by any groups or individuals to foment racial discord; and that vigorous action will be taken under the proposed race relations legislation and other relevant legislation against those who seek to disrupt our society in this way.

6. The Government welcomes the Commission’s finding that charges of police brutality are without foundation (paragraphs 50 and 71 of the Report).

7. Numerous detailed recommendations are made in the course of the Commission’s Report. It would be neither appropriate nor desirable, bearing in mind the time required to give careful study to the Commission’s Report, for detailed comments to be made at this stage on these recommendations.

Meantime, whilst the Government has reservations on some of the Commission’s views and recommendations, these and all the other views and recommendations of the Commission are being examined in depth in the context of each specific field of policy.

Click HERE to download the full report (requires Adobe Reader).

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